Saffire Freycinet review, Freycinet National Park, Tasmania: Weekend away

Our rating

5 out of 5

THE PLACE

Saffire Freycinet

THE LOCATION

Taking the place of an old caravan park inside the Freycinet National Park, Saffire sits on a high curve of Coles Bay overlooking the Hazards mountain range. You can take a boat ride in the sheltered bay, walk over to Wineglass Bay, one of the most secluded and memorable pieces of sand in Australia, or tour the local vineyards. The pink granite peaks of the Hazards follow you everywhere, as does the feeling that this part of Tassie is extremely special.

THE SPACE

Conceived as a stingray but with touches of a visiting spaceship, the main building is built for awe. You enter the stingray from the, er, tail with the building deliberately masking the stunning view of the Hazards mountain range opposite, but once inside sweeping windows mean that is all you can see. The curvaceous wooden roof is made from hundreds of panels of celery top pine, and there are Eames chairs and recliners in the library to the right.

Downstairs, the lounge bar has a long open fire with comfy lounges angled towards the view, Huon pine stump tables are scattered throughout with thoughtful touches like binoculars and copies of What Bird Is That? Opposite is Palate, the two-tiered restaurant, while on the ground floor the gallery shows the work of local artists.

THE ROOM

All 20 suites are an architectural love letter to the Hazards mountain range that is framed in your floor-to-ceiling windows. Suites 1-4 have a private plunge pool while the remaining offerings are two-tiered suites with a pink marble feature wall to reflect the pink granite in the Hazards, which was once mined for kitchen bench tops but is now protected. The celery top pine roof links the suites with the mother ship.

With any luxury accommodation it is the small things that elevate it: the fact that your in-room speaker system comes with a converter for newer iPhones, a mini-bar stacked with Tasmanian distilled spirits (McHenry gin, Hailing vodka, Lark single malt whisky) and the hot water bottle popped into your bed on cooler nights. A chessboard, fresh apples, De'Longhi tea and coffee-making facilities and perfectly curated art complete the picture.

The bathroom is huge, with double shower (watch the blinds unless you want to put on a show for the lounge guests), under-floor heating and a bath you can share with the Hazards.

THE FOOD

Chef and GM Hugh Whitehouse has been with Saffire since day one and the two-tiered Palate restaurant is his baby. The cuisine in the restaurant is very Tasmania focused with produce that comes from so close you will pass many of the suppliers on the drive up from Hobart. But it is smart enough to know guests do not want fine dining three times a day. There is relaxed dining and salads in the lounge that allow guests to drift in and graze. "Saffire has always been a very food-focused lodge; from the beginning to make a difference it had to be a food destination," says Whitehouse.

STEPPING OUT

The signature Saffire excursion is the visit to Freycinet Marine Oyster Farm, where you don your waders and partake of freshly shucked oysters and Tassie bubbly while standing waist deep in the Coles Bay waters. For something closer to home try the Tasmanian Devil Experience, an on-site retirement home for devils past the breeding age. Say "Hi" to poor little Murray, who has his own pen due to bullying by the other animals. Or just walk along the beach at the end of the property, making sure you grab a pair of wellies from the box at the gate.

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THE VERDICT

Unquestionably the luxury lodge that sets the standard in Tasmania, if not Australia.

ESSENTIALS

$1950 per night for the Luxury Suites. This is an all-inclusive package including food and beverages and activities.

HIGHLIGHT: Many, but perhaps that first view of the Hazards, by a Tassie devil's whisker.

LOWLIGHT: You have to look pretty hard, but the iPod playlist when you enter your suite is a bit "elevator".

Paul Chai was a guest of Saffire Freycinet

​See also: Review: The only Australian property to make the world's top 100 hotels